What are some "extreme" (but legitimate and okay to be used under the watch of a spiritual director) forms of corporal mortification?

I can think of:
-sleeping on the floor
-The Discipline (self-flaggelation)
-the cilice

Some people in the Eastern Churches have a rule of prostrations. :slight_smile:

Try driving the posted speed limit or getting up as soon as the alarm goes off.


Try washing and feeding homeless people. :slight_smile:

The hardest and most valuable form of penance is to be charitable to others at all times,
and it is the specific command of Jesus to love God above all, others as yourself, and Jesus in Matthew 25 tells us He judges us by our charity.

It is indeed the hardest penance of all sometimes, to be charitable and kind to others.

“A spark of pure love is more precious before God, more useful for the soul, and richer in benedictions for the Church than all other works taken together.” (St John of the Cross)

God bless and guide you

When you consult your spiritual director he or she will tell you what is appropriate for you. There is no point in making a list of potential physical mortifications.

Do your duties to your station in life cheerfully, promptly, and without reminders. Be humble and loving to those around you - especially your family. Frequent the sacraments and do not neglect your daily prayers.

If after that you have the time or inclination for additional physical penances, then speak to your spiritual director again.

I don’t have a car, but I was driving someone else’s recently and boy is it hard to drive the speed limit! Following my country’s laws to a t, with the exception of where they cause me to sin, would be a great mortification! Love it. And everyone would just think I’m being an annoyingly good citizen. Love it. No littering. No speeding. Etc. Nice.

I really like what St. Therese said about when someone calls us we shouldn’t do even one more bit of work, but get up right away to go to whoever is calling us. That is very difficult.

I do already get up right away though. I’ve been doing the Opus Dei thing of waking up right at the ring of the alarm, kissing the floor and saying “Servium!”. Except I say it in English, because I don’t know how to pronounce that in Latin.

Actually, I put some boards (not rough, just leftover flooring pieces) on my bed during Lent. It was not my intention that anyone would know about it, but my brother jumped on my bed and the word was out. So a little over halfway through Lent, my dad told me I had to take the boards off my bed, and he watched as I took them off. Coincidentally, that day was the feast of a saint who practiced many mortifications in secret! :shrug:
I may try again next Lent…:blush:

It might be a greater mortification to honor your father’s wishes. Obediance is better than sacrifices. :slight_smile:

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said: Does the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams.

Thats true;) Actually, I was reading somewhere that when your parents or siblings think that you are crazy for trying to practice mortifications, it is a sign of sainthood. Just look at Saint Catherine of Siena or Rose of Lima.

God Bless!

Dental braces, if you need them.

Let’s not get too radical!

I tried that for awhile, but I became an occasion of sin for other drivers.

Honestly, this is something to be left in the hands of your spiritual director. He will be able to determine what’s most spiritually beneficial for you.

I see my spiritual director in a couple days and will certainly bring it up there. I just wanted to stir the pot, get some ideas going before that appointment. I’m nervous to bring it up in SD because I feel that the whole topic of mortification, especially corporal mortification, makes a lot of people uncomfortable these days.

Broach the topic gently, and not too eagerly. I also recommend leaving out things like using the discipline, cilice, etc. I can assure you, you’re not there yet spiritually, and if you seem too eager for these things, it’s a warning sign for abnormal psychological issues.

LOL @ turtle!

There’s a reason for that. The science of spiritual development didn’t stop developing in the middle ages; as people got better at sharing information and learning what works collectively, it was discovered that these heroic mortifications so praised in the lives of the saints can actually take on a life of their own very easily. Turns out egos really get a kick out of that stuff and really dislike being mundane and ordinary. It makes much tastier ego food to make myself special with extreme corporal mortifications (even if done in secret) than it does to just get up and quietly pray, rake leaves and carry water like the rest of the ordinary schmucks. Being devoutly simple and ordinary is the greatest mortification of all.

The only penance anyone needs is to try giving a cat a bath when it doesn’t want one :wink:

Thank you for your advice. Im really curious, how do these few internet posts that I’ve made on this thread give you enough information about my interior spiritual life that you can make a judgement on where I’m at (or not at)? This is one of the few things that bothers me about catholic answers. There’s a lot of incredible information here, it’s a fantastic resource, but the reality is that it’s an internet forum. It’s incredibly impersonal yet people think they can make judgements about where other people are in their spiritual life. Im not saying this just to complain, but with the hope that some people will not do that anymore. Because you don’t know me. If i told you about my interior life you still wouldn’t be able to make an accurate judgement. Sorry.

How about wearing a hair shirt?

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